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Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane
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Unholy Magic

by Stacia Kane

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Okay, my dear sweet friends who love this series to pieces, please don't be offended or unfriend me… but I just don't think this series is for me.

I get it~ I can see why it's popular and why other people are loving it, but I have to ask myself "If I didn't know anybody who loved this book and I picked it up all on my own, would I have finished it? Would I have enjoyed it?"


Chess's job is to figure out if people have a real haunting, or are just faking one to collect the insurance money from the Church (the Church guarantees that they have the ghost population under control) so a good portion of the plot is always Chess investigating a haunting, like ghostbusters, and another part of the plot is her doing CSI-type work with either Terrible or Lex trying to solve ghost-related murders. Unfortunately, I didn't find either of these things very interesting to me personally.

I don't generally read crime/mystery books, but I was still willing to get through that stuff if I was enjoying the interactions with the characters enough, but even that was hard for me. I didn't connect with Chess and Terrible the way a lot of people have, so maybe it's just a case of "it's not you, book, it's me."

This is gritty dark urban fantasy with a drug-addicted heroine whose self-destructive behavior was understandable, but still pretty miserable to watch. From drug withdrawals to devaluing her body because she doesn't think she deserves any better, it was tough. I really like some banter in my books, some humor (not too much, though, I'm looking at you Charley Davidson) and there just wasn't enough levity to help me get through the icks.

I didn't really care for magic/witchcraft elements of the story either, maybe because of my church-girl roots, or maybe because it felt like no matter how many books I read in this series, I would never know what the heck was going on or be able to anticipate how Chess would fight the ghosts. She seemed to just be able to throw some graveyard dirt and some latin words at them and her powers would magically win. I don't know exactly why this bugged me, but it did.

So, sadly, I think I'm getting off the Downside train here (with much love for those still on it!), but I do want to make a quick note on the audio version: So great! The narrator on this series is really good. Easy to listen to and does a fantastic job with all the downspeak and accents. She really brought the characters to life for me and I liked Terrible much more when listening to her read him. If you want to give this series a go and like audio, don't hesitate. This is one urban fantasy series that I think really benefitted from the audio version. ( )
  KirSio | Aug 31, 2015 |
The Good: Chess drove me absolutely insane in this book. I had a strong desire to scream at her, shake some sense into her, something. I was so completely involved in the situations Chess got herself into that I don't think I moved at all the entire time I read this book. Glued to the page is an understatement. I could not put this book down. Things get very real for Chess on a personal level and I just could not get enough.

The Bad: Nothing at all. ( )
  TequilaReader | Jan 8, 2015 |
I jumped right into this book from the first one. You can definitely feel more of a draw into this story in this book. I also LOOOOOVVEEE the dynamic that is starting between Chess and another thuggish character. I adore Terrible and I can't wait to see what happens with those two.

The story line was good and Ms. Kane doesn't make me feel like I have to learn an entire new world just to read her book. I love that. I will continue with the series. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Okay, I said I really liked the first book but this one takes the cake. It was amazing! I don`t know if I`m angry at Chess for all the stupid things she`s been doing or if I crawl into a bed and cry myself to sleep when I think how things are between Chess and Terrible. Seriously, heart palpitations with the confession scene and from that point on, things just got worse for my poor heart. Pain, physical pain. Can`t freaking wait to read book three. ( )
  msralways | Aug 19, 2014 |
Spoiler - free!

This is one of those books that holds you in its tight grip and doesn't let you function properly in your everyday life. I neglected my family, friends, and pets for a little over 24hrs. Totally worth it.

I like gritty books that don't hold punches and Kane is a maverick at taking you on an emotional ride that leaves you breathless. It was so easy to step into Chess' place & feel every triumph, every heartache, & every snub like they were my own. I laughed, I sobbed, & I smiled like a lovestruck schoolgirl. I ran the gamut of emotions.

There's not much I'll say as to the plot, but read this series and if you were lukewarm about the 1st book, dive into the 2nd. You won't be disappointed.

3/30/12 - re-read
Kane is amazing. ( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
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ENEMIES DON’T NEED TO BE ALIVE TO BE DEADLY.

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they—along with their ruthless employers—are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire.
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Chess is a fiercely independent witch and talented Debunker - working for the Church of Real Truth to exorcise ghosts and expose human liars. But she has a dark little secret that is causing her a lot of problems - a drug addiction. Life is getting too complicated and Chess must break the rules to keep her head above water.… (more)

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